One of my favorite weeknight meals is shells and spinach. It is super easy to make and a delicious combination of spinach and feta cheese. It also freezes very well, and is great in a pinch. My kids love it, and it’s a great alternative to macaroni and cheese. I was thankful this week to have some on hand, when my son was sick. I was tired, and thrilled to be able to grab a healthy meal out of my freezer. I am sharing this again for all of my new readers. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do!
Start the spinach and pasta water at the same time.
Steam the spinach (or your preferred cooking method) until fork tender over medium heat. It usually takes about 30 minutes.
Cook the pasta separately according to package directions. When the pasta is done, strain and toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp. salt.
When the spinach is ready, strain it and ensure most of the water is squeezed out. Puree it with 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp. salt.
Once the spinach is pureed and the shells have been tossed with olive oil, mix the spinach puree with the pasta. Continue mixing until the spinach covers all the shells.
At this point, you can proceed 2 different ways.
Option 1: If you are serving the entire amount, crumble the feta cheese and mix well. Place on the stove top over medium heat and heat through. Serve immediately.
Option 2: Portion out only what you will serve right then and crumble feta cheese and mix together (amount based on how many shells you are using). Place the rest in the fridge (will keep for 2-3 days) or freezer for longer storage (portion it out first). When you remove the remainder from the fridge, toss with a little olive oil and salt and heat through. Then add the crumbled feta and stir until incorporated and the cheese is warm. If frozen, defrost first and follow the same directions. Enjoy!
Note: I am fairly conservative with the salt, because the feta cheese is so salty. After you add the feta, taste it and add more salt to taste.
#1 This makes great homemade frozen food. Freeze in portions in a freezer safe container (I prefer to not mix in the feta before freezing). Remove from the freezer, defrost, and add a little olive oil and feta cheese and enjoy!
#2 If you find spinach on sale or have a bunch coming out of your garden, go ahead and cook and puree it (according to recipe) and freeze it in freezer safe containers. Remove when you want to make shells and spinach and just defrost and toss with the pasta.
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Try my Spinach Pesto. It is another great way to get spinach in your diet!